Monday, November 2, 2009

Even The Dogs

Focus verses: Matthew 15:21-28

The story of the Canaanite woman with the demon-possessed daughter has always fascinated me. We think of Jesus as having come for everyone, but here He says He came only for "the lost sheep of Israel." In other words, He came only for the Jews.

She, being a Canaanite, was not His primary concern. He tells her so very bluntly, calling the Jews "children" and calling everyone else "dogs." This is not the gracious, soft-spoken healer we have been taught to see. He has healed countless numbers here-to-fore. Why would he not just heal this woman's daughter and be done with it?

I believe He is using her persistence and faith as an example. She doesn't quit. The disciples urged Him to send her away because she keeps on after them. That would indicate that this had gone on for some time. She didn't quit the first time she was ignored, nor the second, nor presumably the fifth or tenth. She would not quit.

As believers, we can learn a lesson from this tenacity. Never, never, never give up.

As for her faith, she has been called a dog. This is not a compliment. But she didn't bristle at the appellation. She simply acknowledged her unworthiness and appealed to His generosity. In other words, she came, not because of her position, but because of His nature.

Sometimes, I think we presume upon God. We think that because we call ourselves Christian, that means we should have preferred seats in the congregation. But as Christians, we should be ushers, not observers. Ushers stand and serve and sit at the corners to be ready when there is a need. They move at a moment's notice and are always on the watch for the need.

As Christians, we do not have preferred seats. We are here not because of who we are, but because of what He did. We should be ready at any given moment to serve anywhere He calls us. That doesn't necessarily mean the ends of the earth. Sometimes in means in our own households.

Father, God,

Keep us ever mindful that we are not Your children because of us, but because of Jesus Christ. Deliver us from the pride that would let us think ourselves better than others. Make us ever ready to serve wherever You would have us serving.
In Jesus' most precious name.

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